Tuesday, December 23, 2008

'Tis the season for unexpected gifts!

This seems to be truly the season for unexpected gifts.
The refreshing chill in the air of normally-hot 'nd humid Mumbai is gift enough. But, this vibrant Cardinal Ipomoea stopped me in my tracks . I had thought it was dead after an infestation of caterpillars had stripped it to its skeleton some months ago. But here it was, thriving again and beaming cheerily at me. It had clambered over an overgrown rubber plant growing in our neighbour's garden and was sharing its cheer equally among all.

Then, while scrambling around the far corners of my garden, I suddenly discovered this tiny gem suspended from our fence. It was a wild creeper of some sort which had grown from the wilderness that has taken over our neighbouring property.

And as an unexpected bonus, I got this ... a Common Pierrot came visiting. I had never seen one sit still before in my garden. So seeing one perch on this tiny wildflower was the crowning moment!

This bright red bougainvillaea (I hope I spelled that right... too many letters!) was grown from a cutting that I got from my childhood garden. The mother plant was easily 30 years old at least. Maybe even 50. Does that make it an heirloom?
It has climbed up a towering Michelia champaca tree and blooms its head off every winter. It's a fantastic combination ... the heady fragrance of the champaca alternate seasons with the fiery blooms of the bougainvillaea cascading thickly down the tall tree.

Then I got a visit from this friendly little Whitebreasted Kingfisher. He was after butterflies, not fish. He flew onto a tree close to me, snapped up a butterfly and then decided this rock was a better perch to view the world go by. He was not too bothered about my getting close enough for this shot. Friendly! He even left a couple of brilliant blue feathers for my children to marvel over.

A big surprise was seeing these coconuts sprouting as healthy as you please. These dry coconuts had fallen off the tree but our regular buyer is more interested in buying tender coconuts which he can sell for the delicious juice. So these had been put away to use at a later date but then I don't use much coconut in my cooking so they lay there for a real long time. Long enough to decide to finally get a move on and grow!

And then there is this final gift I gave myself .... these brilliant-red Pentas. A just-because gift. Always the best kind.

A Merry Christmas to all my friends in the blogging world. I hope you have a wonderful day filled with the joy and comfort of friends and family.

I will be away for a few days , so I dont know when I'll get to see any comments that you may post here. But please dont let that stop you; I thoroughly enjoy reading them.

See you soon!


  1. So many differnt beautys!
    I do hope you have a nice tripp... AND I hope you will be back sone.
    Merry Cristmas to you!

  2. Sunita - wishing you a merry christmas too.
    What a lovely bird the white breasted kingfisher is - and how kind of him to leave two feathers for your children

  3. Hi Sunita, what gifts indeed! The butterfly and kingfisher are creatures I have never seen before, thanks so much for showing them! You land is so beautiful, it is the stuff of dreams!


  4. These are the kind of gifts most North American gardeners would love right now. Those coconuts and white breasted kingfisher are way cool. I'm going to show my son as he was just asking about how coconuts sprout. Merry Christmas!

  5. Hi Sunita!
    A perfect Christmas post. So full of rich red and green! Cardinal Creeper definitely loves your garden so much that it regrew for you. Yes that gem like wild flower looks like a jewel.
    Happy Holidays!
    How can we not stop by and stop ourselves from commenting here?

  6. Happy holidays to you too! Your garden is quite a treat, and your sharing of it more enjoyable!

  7. kingfisher and butterfly...wonderful post..congrats

  8. Simply gorgeous photos! The Common Pierrot is so beautiful...I've never seen it before!

    Have a wonderful trip!

  9. Have a safe trip & a Merry Christmas Sunita. Beautiful blooms for us to drool over!

  10. Looking at these photos...I long for spring. Love the Kingfisher shot! Happy holidays, Sunita!

  11. all so brilliant captures!!

    Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours too!!

  12. Hope you have a Merry Christmas Sunita! Thanks for sharing all those beautiful pictures!!! Happy holidays for you and your family.

  13. Hi Sunita, the season's unexpected gifts are the best. The laquer red
    Ipomea looks Christmas cheerful. The tiny bell from the wild garden is a little treasure. Like the Pierrot, the name suits it, great shot. I like that particular red of the bougainvillea; I like them all! Great to be able to take a cutting from your childhood garden.
    The kingfisher in its splendid colours must be a friendly fellow to sit still. Coconut palms grow here but I have never seen ripe cocnuts on them. I love all the Pentas, this is a wonderful red...good to gift it to yourself. Sunita you have a wonderful, friendly garden. Here it is already Boxing day. I spend lovely days with my family and hope the same for you.

  14. Great photos!Merry Christmas ,Sunita!

  15. Merry Christmas to all of you. A bit late, I know, but the wishes are the same nonetheless :) Anyway I hope all of you had as great a time as I did!

    Linda, thank you. I was just itching to get back so I could start blogging again. Yeah, I know, I really am hooked :D

    Merry Christmas to you too, Karen. I just couldnt get over how friendly that kingfisher was! I've been thinking how I can use those feathers in some craft. But they're so beautiful it has to be something special.

    Hi Frances, good to see you here again. The Pierrot butterfly was a first time for me too so I was quite excited about it. I've managed to click some new birds on this trip... I'll post about them soon.

    Merry Christmas, Tina. I'm sending you a lot of warm wishes to take the edge off the chill in your area now :) I'll try to get some better shots of the sprouting coconuts for you, okay? It never even occured to me that people may not know what they look like.

    Ohhh Chandramouli, you're such a friend! Thanks for that last comment.
    LOL! It really was Christmas-y, wasnt it? I didnt really plan it that way, you know.

    Hi flowergirl! Good to see you here again :) I've been working on getting more plants for my garden... all the better to share with you, of course ;)

    Thanks, Ramesh. Glad you liked the kingfisher and the butterfly. They seem to be really popular here, right?

    Kanak! I cant tell you how exciting it was to finally talk to you. I mean really talk ! The Pierrot is lovely, isnt he? He kept rubbing his fore wing and hind wing together. A really fascinating butterfly!

    Thanks, Racquel, and I hope you had a merry Christmas too. I'm working on more blooms... anything for my friends :)

    Hi Kim! Spring is just a few months away. Till then you can keep the memory of it through the blogs of us tropical gardeners, right? :)

    Thanks, magiceye! I wish the same to you and all you hold dear too.

    Merry Christmas to you too, Eric. I hope you have a wonderful time with friends and family and, of course, your lovely plants!

    Merry Christmas, Trudi! Its wonderful to have family around you on these special days, isn't it?
    I loved your Christmas-red post :) Very cheerful-looking.
    The Ipomoea is being visited by a couple of Sunbirds... all the more reason to be ecstatic about it.
    I'm surprised that you dont get ripe coconuts on your palms there. I would've thought it was tropical enough for them.
    Okay, a confession ... I did get more Pentas. Hot pink and mauve too. I need to get more blooms for my butterflies .

    Merry Christmas, Steffi. Thanks, I'm so glad you liked the photos. I'm sure its very different from your part of the world right now, hmm?

  16. These are very rare shots - VEry good observation on your part - Very good clarity and colours too. the last one is particularly good as you focussed on one flower and the rest went in soft image - thats a very professional shot. Excellent pics. Thankyou for sharing them :)

  17. Happy New Year, Sunita - and thank you for sharing the gifts in your garden - charming as usual.

  18. Happy New Year to you too, Raji. Heres wishing you Peace, Happiness, Good Fortune and Friends to see you through.

  19. Sunita you have a gift for gardening and story telling too!

  20. Hey, thanks Mridula! :D
    So how'd you like the Kingfisher up close?

  21. Very interesting. Do you know how to make those ola panthu and peepi and all listed there. if so, why dont you post it at



    Ramesh Menon

  22. I'm sorry, Ramesh ... I have to admit that I don't know how to make these. Thanks for writing in, though .


Hi, hope you enjoyed reading this post? Tell me what you think about this post; I love hearing from you.
But please note ... if there's a link in the comment, it will not be approved for publishing (sorry, but I'm getting way too much spam with links).